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The results in the voting intentions are a first in Ireland since the nation achieved independence from Britain around a century ago.
The latest election poll in Ireland showed Sunday a surge in support for left-wing party Sinn Fein, placing it for the first time in the country’s history, neck and neck with the main opposition party.
According to the Business Post/Red C poll, Sinn Fein holds 24 percent of the electorate’s support alongside right-wing Fianna Fail, while the ruling Fine Gael, a liberal-conservative party, came in third with 21 percent.
The opinion poll results came a week ahead of Feb. 8 general election, a vote that will determine which political party will lead Ireland.
"People want change," Sinn Fein tweeted Sunday. "Sinn Fein can bring that change."
These results in the voting intentions are a first in Ireland since the nation obtained independence from Britain around a century ago.
The leftist party, which is both active in Ireland and Northern Ireland, has been a major player in the country’s politics, especially for its inflexible position on a united Ireland.
Sinn Fein has been closely tied to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), a designation used by several paramilitary organizations, fighting for all of Ireland to be an independent republic, free from British rule.
The progressive party has thus traditionally struggled to gain wider voters’ support and to convince Irish people that it can lead the nation.
Sunday's poll may mark an end to this tradition as voters seem ready to stop the historical power switching between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.
For many Irish voters, particularly those under 35 years, the next poll could present an opportunity to move away from the right-wing ideology that has shaped the country’s politics for almost 100 years.
"Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have been in power in this state for almost a century," Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said Sunday.
"They've had it all their own way and they've had their chance."
McDonald was in talks with Irish state broadcaster RTE to join Fine Gael leader Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin at a debate Tuesday.
Her exclusion from the event before Sunday's vote had been criticized.
Sinn Fein's popularity was helped along by its anti-austerity stances and the backing of young voters seemingly willing to push their country to the left.